Decision Making when Making a Baby

“When I have kids we will bake Christmas cookies every year.”

Becoming a family. Carrying on traditions. Creating new ones. Replacing ones that didn’t work.  What motivates your decision to become a parent?  It seems so simple in the beginning. Find “the one,”  commit to each other, and create a child to bind you together, forever, as a family.

For many, the most difficult decision is the first one – do I become a parent and when? We assume that once that decision is made, the rest is easy. After all – we’ve been told since middle school that if you’re not very, very, very careful you might make a baby by just being too close to someone! But for some of us, making a baby is not a simple cause and effect.  It is process, a continuum, a collection of small – and monumental – decisions.

When you don’t get pregnant within a few months it’s confusing, and a bit scary. Or if you do get pregnant and suffer a miscarriage it is even more confusing.  What does it mean? Miscarriage is common you’re told, up to 1 in 4 pregnancies ending in miscarriage. And there is hope – after all, a positive pregnancy test means it can happen again.

But for some of us, the first miscarriage is not the last. For others, the pregnancy test never turns positive. Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after 12 months of trying to conceive.  If you are over the age of 35, infertility is declared after 6 months of actively trying to conceive.

Infertility can involve making hundreds incremental decisions – day by day, month by month. This is not only emotionally exhausting, if decision fatigue sets in, can be expensive.

If you’re over 30 and a pregnancy isn’t happening easily, it’s important to look reality in the eye and put a plan in place.

  1. Recognize that infertility can happen to you.  Infertility rates range between 15 – 30% for women over the age of 30.
  2. Develop a personal decision making strategy.  How far are you willing to go to become a parent?  How much medical intervention is right for you and your partner? What can you afford? What will you do if you cannot conceive a biological child?
  3. Know your options.  Depending on your situation, what medical intervention is right for you and your partner?  Are alternatives like donor insemination, surrogacy or adoption something you need to know about?  Getting To Baby is a step-by-step guide that will help in your decision making process.
  4. Find support.  Find a peer-led or professionally led support group through Resolve, the National Infertility Association.  By connecting with others who have been down this path, you will be in a position to make better, more informed decisions.

Finding your personal path to Getting To Baby can result one of the most fulfilling decisions of your life – becoming a parent.

No one wants to think about miscarriage

No matter how you’re trying to conceive, if you become pregnant, there’s a chance you’ll have a miscarriage. It’s an outcome no one wants to think about, but trust me, it happens. We’ve been through it.

Miscarriage is an incredibly difficult process for couples. Also, miscarriage can occur at different stages of the pregnancy. If you are the woman who was carrying the baby, an early miscarriage often happens in the restroom. You are alone. The initial shock and grief happen in solitude, and then the task of telling your partner lies ahead. Your partner wants to support you, but isn’t sure what to say. Strain can develop in the relationship.

Even worse, some couples experience miscarriages after they’ve already told friends and loved ones they’re pregnant. That means well-meaning people are likely to ask how your pregnancy is going. It’s important to figure out a way to answer that question, so you’re not caught off guard.

For couples who have announced their pregnancy, the emotions of loss associated with miscarriage can also be mottled with feelings of embarrassment. Shame and failure are also normal feelings to have. And although moving forward might seem like the best option, simply trying to conceive again does not erase those emotions. It’s important to discuss the possibility of a miscarriage early, so you’re prepared, in at least some small way, to get through the trial — in case it happens to you.